Ben Lomond is the most southerly Munro (peaks in Scotland above 3000ft), rising abruptly from the central belt conurbations, about 30 miles from the centre of Glasgow. Its accessibility makes it a popular mountain to climb and must only be second to Ben Nevis in terms of popularity.
The name Ben Lomond is probably derived from the Celtic llumon or Gaelic laom meaning a light or beacon, so ‘Beacon Hill’, and this would seem apt given the hill’s prominence.
The hill is normally climbed from Rowardennan on the banks of Loch Lomond reached by a dead-end road. There are two paths, the tourist route which most people use takes the easiest line up the broad south ridge of the mountain, and a much more interesting path that climbs steeply to a subsidiary top called Ptarmigan, and this was our chosen route of ascent.
The Ptarmigan route climbs to the side of a ridge up to the top of Ptarmigan then undulates around knolls and past a lochan before swinging south to climb steeply up the north ridge of the mountain to arrive at the summit cairn. The large number of people on the summit meaning this is not a mountain to ‘get away from it all’ on a dry sunny weekend, we did find some seclusion for lunch though.
The day was clear with hardly a cloud in the sky; the air was also clear and free of the haze usually associated with summer, especially to the north where we could see Ben Nevis clearly in the distance. We deviated from the path on the way down to explore the east ridge and look down the cliffs to the north before joining the tourist path back to the cars at Rowardennan. The local hotel was busy and had run out of ice cream, however they could muster a drink for us before we departed for home.